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Gandalf's Fist


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Gandalf's Fist A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer album cover
3.92 | 143 ratings | 10 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2013

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Another Night on the Far Side of the Universe (1:33)
2. The Nine Billion Names of God (7:59)
3. Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet (4:09)
4. Somewhere Beyond the Stars (4:25)
5. The Orphans of the Sky (7:02)
6. Maze of Corridors (4:18)
7. A Universal Wanderer (4:31)
8. Nexus (4:41)
9. North of the Wall (3:07)
10. The Battle for Tannhäuser Gate (5:11)
11. The Wanderer Goes South (8:50)

Total Time 55:46

Track list on 2017 SE:
1. Another Night on the Far Side of the Universe (1:54)
2. The Nine Billion Names of God (7:56)
3. Where's a Bloody Escape Pod When You Need One? (0:26)
4. Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet (4:38)
5. Message Home (0:54)
6. Somewhere Beyond the Stars (4:26)
7. Orphans of the Sky (7:04)
8. A Visitation of the Mushroom People (0:58)
9. The Stowaway and the Endless Night (11:41)
10. A Universal Wanderer (4:33)
11. Nexus (4:40)
12. North of the Wall (3:07)
13. The Battle for Tannhäuser Gate (5:12)
14. Ghosts of Spacetime (0:56)
15. The Wanderer Goes South (8:48)

Total Time 67:13

Line-up / Musicians

- Luke Severn / lead (8) & backing vocals, voice actor
- Dean Marsh / lead vocals, guitars, bass, synth, composer, producer
- Stefan Hepe / drums, percussion

- Melissa Hollick / lead & backing vocals
- Dying Seed / vocals
- Jennifer Pederson / vocals
- Beccie Watson / vocals
- Mark Benton / voice actor
- Alicia Marsh / voice actor
- Andy Bolper / saxophone (2)
- Natasha Jaffe / cello (9)
- Davor Busic / flute (9)
- William Stewart / violins (10)
- Suzanne Weller / flute (11)

NOTE: Some instruments were overdubbed for the 2017 SE

Releases information

CD self-released (2013, UK)
CD self-released - GFCD007 (2017, UK) SE with different track list and cover art

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy GANDALF'S FIST A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer Music

GANDALF'S FIST A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer ratings distribution

(143 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(34%)
Good, but non-essential (31%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (4%)

GANDALF'S FIST A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by tszirmay
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Crunch time! And we have a winner! After a supreme first success with Road to Darkness, there was, in my opinion, a letdown with the follow-up, last year's "From a point of Existence'. So what was going to be next, something fabulous or a train wreck?

After an initial spoken introduction, the CD kicks into overdrive with the splendidly cloudy and intoxicating nearly 8 minute epic, "The Nine Billion Names of God", setting the tone with a Roxy Music (sax sex) vibe massaged into a suave space excursion, hushed vocals and glittering musical elaboration. Luke Severn is the owner of a high-pitched whisper that drips atmospherics, a style I particularly care for (New Musik's Tony Mansfield, Steve Wilson, the Church and Vienna Circle come to mind).

But it's the next trio of tunes that seal the deal for this release: With a classic-like delivery, the sensational "Stowaway to the Mushroom Planet" blasts forth in unchallenged confidence , displaying a thrilling harmony of sounds and colors, all supported by near-perfect execution. A bold guitar line carves out an addictive melody which will govern accordingly. Severn's vocal hush is even more shimmering here This track has all the hallmarks of an eternal prog classic and will be getting heavy rotation on my daily machines.

This is followed by the transcendent "Somewhere Beyond the Stars", a world-class anthem of sheer delirious female vocal ecstasy, a mostly piano and voice duet that should be a future standard, something similar to the spectacular Emeli Sande's « Read all about it ». A delicate guitar caresses the soul, while the female vocal just transcends any sense of normalcy, the lyrics poignant and touching. I have been humming this all week !

Finish up with majestic "Orphans of the Sky", an Eloy-like space romp that verges on the jaw-dropping! There is pulse, determination, sweet vocal luxuries of genius, solid melodies and even driving beats mixed in with some spooky soloing! Tremendous seven minute cosmic romp that will stand the test of time, there is a sense of total control over the arrangement that goes beyond just pleasurable. We are talking memorable, here! The audacity to toss in some "Maggot Brain"-like guitar clanging in the mid-section, well that just does it for me, thank you! (You tube Funkadelic-Maggot Brain, OMG!). Dean Marsh is killing it! Just because these three songs are exceptional does not mean the rest is chopped liver on pumpernickel!

A few snippets of some of the finest narration lines ever recorded, loaded with steamy tones like from 50s crime cinema, black and white eeriness, a la Hitchcock. "Maze of Corridors" is also a wild sonic ride, blowing into a hurricane of devilish proportions, as if an Iron Maiden vibe had taken over. Pretty convincing especially with the unrelenting chorus of 'Madness', a delectable heavy metal guitar solo to close up, what a musical ride up to now!

On "Universal Wanderer", Luke Severn returns with his high-pitched whisper , in a near segue to the opening jewel "The Nine Billion Names of God", this time with a harsher riff assault and relentless battery, like a harder Rush or even another nod to Maiden. The scintillating melody and chorus are to expiate over, having to fill the swear jar later with a month's worth of savings! Gandalf's Fist wear all their influences well and adapt them to a wholly original style that I particularly crave. The "whoa, oh oh" is a well-trodden classic formula but its wholly appropriate here.

"Nexus" is a similar rocket of moody psychedelics, noodling into Floydian territory, a trait they do rather well, adding Beatles?harmony influences to the heady mix. Dean Marsh is a serious candidate for prog idolatry, manning all the main instruments with studied yet creative aplomb. His guitar playing is exemplary if not even more so, the keyboard textures are cinematographic, the bass playing technical and the drums, with some outside help, are thunderous. The female voice does once again a great pilgrimage to the loftiest heights.

The brief "North of the Wall" has that quirky Morgan Freeman-like narration at the end, after a formidable opening section. But the other outright killer track is undoubtedly the crown jewel melody of "The Battle for Tannhauser Gate", a luxuriant tune where stunning violin and ornate mandolin intertwine with utter harmony, knitting in another flexible female vocal, a perhaps proggier version of Blackmore's Night. The momentous chorus arches over the horizon with assurance, a deadly Oldfieldian guitar underlines the theme, accessible yet potent material of the highest caliber.

"Wanderer Goes South" pulls down the curtain on this "chef d'oeuvre", a rambling epic and longest track here, underlining the theme of this album, as per quote on their website" Those lucky enough to intercept the signal on their primitive terrestrial audio-decoders, will be treated to a cosmic jam across space and time exploring a mythical figure from the 26th Century ? 'The Universal Wanderer' - who's legend tells of a figure who has wandered the cosmos from the birth of existence to the end of time" . Things get Wagnerian with a heavy bombastic symphonics, yet upbeat and playful, breezy and refreshing. Wow!

A preposterous achievement and total success, Gandalf's Fist are to be commended for such a technically salivating album, a total joy to revisit over and over. The 2013 year of quality releases continues unabated, another treasure to add to the trove. More Neo-prog of the highest pedigree!

5 Ivan Denisoviches

Review by Warthur
3 stars Their name might be more reminiscent of an S&M club in Middle Earth than a neo-prog outfit, but Gandalf's Fist don't let that slow them down. On this album they present a mashup of Pink Floyd-inspired spacey atmospheres with an epic, almost operatic approach which reminds me a bit of Iron Maiden at their most progressive-leaning. Unapologetically cheesy and heavy- handed, it's a sound I suspect will be rather polarising; for every listener who finds Marsh and Severn's chaotic sound to be exciting and invigorating I suspect you can find another who'll just find it deeply silly. Interesting stuff, but I find it wears a little thin on repeated listens, as though it's somehow less than the sum of its parts.

Latest members reviews

4 stars I almost forgot about PROG, then came the fist! A friend of mine, with whom I share my taste in music, introduced me to Gandalf's Fist Youtube channel with the words "You'll like this!" after we spent a night on a irrelevant social media platform posting youtube Videos from Echoes via Prince ... (read more)

Report this review (#1254317) | Posted by Calzino | Tuesday, August 19, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars First the news that Nightwish declared Troy Donockley as full-member, now he plays as a session musician at these guys new release. Well, being the "got to have all from him"-nerd I am, I got to order their new album anyway - but let's hear what they're all about. This is their fourth album alrea ... (read more)

Report this review (#1252687) | Posted by LittleLotti | Sunday, August 17, 2014 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Found these guys by accident - their latest news tell about John Mitchell (from It Bites) is singing on their new album, and so I checked them out. "A Day in the Life of a Universal Wanderer" is a concept album telling a story about some guys receiving an interstellar radiosignal and travellin ... (read more)

Report this review (#1251377) | Posted by Ironfist | Saturday, August 16, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I recently discovered this band via Twitter due to their excellent name!! I discovered that their up-coming album featured collaborations from Troy Donockley from Nightwish, John & Clive from Arena and even the singer from gryphon... so i'd thought i'd check out this album what I fink was rele ... (read more)

Report this review (#1234330) | Posted by franklogan1956 | Monday, August 4, 2014 | Review Permanlink

5 stars 2013 was not a positive year for Dr Ball. Having to up root and relocate to Ecclefechan was hard on my wife. There is no advanced Zumba class in Ecclefechan and despite our efforts to make contact with estranged relatives in Dumfries, Pam rarely found herself leaving the grounds of our bungalow ... (read more)

Report this review (#1117114) | Posted by Dr Ball | Tuesday, January 21, 2014 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Gandalf's Fist combine heavy riffs and solos, folky passages (in fact, it could be argued that later-day Iron Maiden - a source of inspiration here - is hyper charged Celtic rock) and Pink Floydian high-in-the-sky, dark, slow atmospherics. Add to that unusual package a loud mix and sore throat v ... (read more)

Report this review (#1061577) | Posted by Progrussia | Thursday, October 17, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Gandalf's Fist have done it again!! A long way from their Pink Floyd inspired debut Road to Darkness, this is a full blown prog fest, following on from last years excellent From A Point of Existence, they have taken the multi layered track format and gone epic!! So the story, as with every Gan ... (read more)

Report this review (#1053157) | Posted by Rushfan47 | Friday, October 4, 2013 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I recently just found that this album is now available on Itunes a few weeks early, so curiosity getting the better of me (and being faced with a long train journey) I decided to give it a download digitally rather than wait for the CD at the end of the month. I enjoyed the previous two relea ... (read more)

Report this review (#1040630) | Posted by ProggyDave | Saturday, September 21, 2013 | Review Permanlink

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